Expert Sky Cabinet (Gypsy Eye GE-201/202)
Koseinenkin-kaikan, Osaka, Japan – March 29th, 1976 (late show)
Disc 1 (52:54): Bohemian Rhapsody (taped intro), Ogre Battle, Sweet Lady, White Queen, Flick Of The Wrist, medley: Bohemian Rhapsody/Killer Queen/March Of The Black Queen/Bohemian Rhapsody, Bring Back That Leroy Brown, Brighton Rock / Son And Daughter, The Prophet’s Song, Stone Cold Crazy
Disc 2 (40:29): Doing All Right, Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon, Keep Yourself Alive, Liar, In The Lap Of The Gods…Revisited, Now I’m Here, Big Spender, Jailhouse Rock, Be Bop A Lula / Jailhouse Rock (reprise), God Save The Queen
Queen played two shows at the Festival Hall in Osaka on March 29th, 1976. The early show is documented in a very good audience recording on the famous Zoom vinyl release in the seventies and on compact disc on Operatic Afternoon on Wardour. The evening show was first released on the compact disc titles Zoom (LLX) and copied on Zoom (LLX 1/2) in 1994 with an erroneous attribution to the afternoon show. Expert Sky Cabinet is a very good and clear audience recording with very nice atmosphere. Gypsy Eye corrected the speed over the older titles although some collectors claim this isn’t as good sounding as the others.
The afternoon show is classic, but the evening show is very uneven. Brian May has tuning issues with the guitar that first appear in the solo for “White Queen” and the “Brighton Rock” solo, and Freddie’s voice is a bit weak too. He makes a mistake in “Bohemian Rhapsody” by singing the second verse in the first and takes a while to correct himself. Otherwise the show is pretty solid with an energetic performance in front of an enthusiastic audience.
In the center of the show are the two great set pieces, “Brighton Rock” and “The Prophet’s Song.” The former is dominated by May’s long solo where the riffs seem to bounce around the arena and through the audience, and in the latter Freddie takes control, singing to himself with a massive echo and even throwing in a bit of “Frère Jacques.” It was about this time, when “Now I’m Here” was moved as set opener to first encore, that a Freddie double would appear onstage making it appear as if he were moving around in time to the lyrics of the song and the audience react to this stage effect. The second encore begins with “Jailhouse Rock” and includes also “Be Bop A Lula” and “Stupid Cupid” (not mentioned on the artwork). Expert Sky Cabinet is a latter day Gypsy Eye release which, as far as silver releases go, is pretty good but could be improved upon.